Polypropylene or PVC tape? Differences and tips

Knowing the main differences of the adhesive tape for packing cardboard boxes is essential to not overpay and always get the desired performance. The questions that we should always ask ourselves are: weight, length of packaging, type of transport and place of storage.

We have so many options that it is often easy to get lost, that is why today we are going to explain the key points that you should consider when choosing the adhesive tape for cardboard boxes.

The adhesive tape is composed of 3 basic elements: the core (inner tube usually made of cardboard), the adhesive and the foil. The main differences are found in the adhesive and the foil.

The sheet: PVC or polypropylene adhesive tape?

One of the questions we are asked most often is the difference between the PVC tape and the polypropylene tape. The main difference is the resistance: PVC is more resistant than polypropylene thanks to its greater elasticity.

PVC adhesive tape
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is the polymerization product of vinyl chloride monomer. It is the most versatile plastic derivative. It is one of the most resistant adhesive tapes thanks to its elastic properties. Thanks to its much more elastic material than polypropylene, it can better withstand the pressure exerted by the weight of heavier loads on the box. On thr other hand, it is more expensive than polypropylene tape.

Polypropylene adhesive tape (PP)
Polypropylene is the thermoplastic polymer, partially crystalline, obtained from the polymerization of propylene. It is another of the most used plastics in the industry and of low cost thanks to its chemical resistance to solvents. It is not as flexible as PVC therefore it is easier to break it, so it is indicated as a seal for lower weight boxes.

The adhesive: Hotmelt, acrylic or solvent (natural rubber)?

Thee differenct types of adhesive can be found the adhesive tapes used for packaging: Hotmelt, acrylic and solvent (natural rubber). To determine which is the best option we must consider the parameters: weight, length of packaging, type of transport and storage place.

Thermoplastic hot melt adhesive (hence the name). Its main features are low cost and fast adhesion. By contrast, its durability is inferior and we will only find it in polypropylene tapes. It is indicated for packing of short duration and low weight. We must take into account the noise of the uncoiling (the highest) and the immediate adherence, making it the most uncomfortable to use.

Synthetic adhesive derived from thermoplastic resins. More economical than solvent, it offers strong adhesion and durability at normal temperatures, but requires a much longer time to adhere.

Some references of polypropylene tape with acrylic adhesive include a treatment that reduces or eliminates the noise that occurs when uncoiling. This is especially interesting when working with boxes, which have been closed for long time periods. See 3M 309 transparent and noiseless Polypropylene adhesive tape.

Solvent or natural rubber
This type of adhesive is composed of elastomeric polymers derived from natural rubber or synthetic elastomers. In combination with the PVC sheet is the high-end tape, offering the best combination between adhesion, durability and strength.

It allows packing boxes that will be closed for prolonged periods of time, withstanding better changes in temperature and humidity in the warehouse or during transportation. In combination with the PVC sheets, solvent adhesive can close boxes of greater weight.

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